Mudsnake Farancia abacura - Special Concern

Adult from Southeastern Missouri
Adult from Southeastern Missouri

Identification: This snake is unlike any other in Indiana and may no longer be present in the state. Adults have glossy, smooth scales and are mostly black. Their underbelly is adorned with bright red blotches that extend onto the sides. The tail comes to a sharp point at the end and the head is indistinct from the neck. Though some adults have been noted at around six feet (1.8 m ) long in southern states, most adults are two to three feet (60 - 90 cm) long.

Similar Species: There is no other snake that looks similar to this species in Indiana.

Cypress-Buttonbush Swamp from Southeastern Missouri

Distribution: In Indiana, mudsnakes are known from a single site and a couple specimens collected during the mid-1900's in Knox County. The swampland where they were collected has long since been drained and no additional snakes have been reported. If mudsnakes still occur in the state, they would likely be in the cypress swamps of far southwestern Indiana. These uniquely aquatic snakes are highly specialized predators that feed almost entirely on siren and live most of their life in swamps and wetlands, emerging only to disperse, lay eggs, and shed their skin.

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Mudsnake (Farancia abacura)
Photographs